Guest Blogs

“Did ADHD Kill Cupid?”

One woman ponders her ADHD marriage. Was it symptoms causing problems, or just a plain and simple lack of compatibility, and when do you call it quits?

We’ve had hundreds of fights. They often end with him hanging up on me, or banning any more talk about babies…honeymoons…you get the idea. And in the midst of one of these blowouts, I finally told my husband that I have ADHD. I guess it was inevitable it would come out one way or another.

He’d never heard of it before. He’s 15 years my senior and grew up in a time when the word ADHD was non-existent. Back then the kids with the condition were all called hyperactive, and accused of eating too much sugary cereal.

I’d imagined the moment I’d reveal my diagnosis to him many times. Maybe he would take a step back and re-assess our already tattered relationship. Many it would be an epiphany – that light bulb moment when he said, “Ah ha so that’s the reason we’re having so much trouble.”

Instead he shrugged and didn’t even acknowledge it.

“It’s taken me a long time to share this,” I said, almost begging him for some sort of acknowledgement. Instead he walked away huffy and puffy, and hasn’t mentioned the ADHD again since. But he has mentioned that our marriage is not working because we’re simply incompatible.

Over the past six months, my husband has repeatedly said that our personalities don’t fit. I want everything instantly and he feels like he’s constantly giving in to my demands. “We’re like oil and water,” he claims. He wants out.

Why did I share this? Because with my marriage on the rocks I need some sympathy or compassion, which my husband seemed to sorely lack.

Okay, I’ll admit revealing my ADHD was a desperate last resort to save a marriage that is almost unsalvageable. Maybe the diagnosis would cover up the reality that we should never have been married, or did it too soon, or that whole thing wasn’t meant to be.

“Take off your rose colored glasses,” a good friend said to me. “He doesn’t really love you, he thinks you’re a pain in the neck.”

In my fantasy world, I imagined my spouse would embrace ADHD with understanding and compassion, that somehow the dialogue would go “oh honey I still love you no matter what. We’ll find a way to work things out together.” I imagined that he’d head to the local bookstore and snap up a copy of Edward Hallowell’s classic book, Married to Distraction. Maybe we’d even read it together and discuss it.

Instead I was met with a cold hard silence.

A spouse and partner should be compassionate and embrace differences rather than regarding them as a nuisance.

In the real world, my marriage is doomed and it’s hard to say how much ADHD played a role in its demise. The husband and I have been married for less than a year and haven’t even gone on a honeymoon. He is talking divorce and doesn’t want to hear my voice. He says he doesn’t really miss me. I am too needy, too chatty, I want things done quickly, I get bored easily, I always need to be doing something, and I’m always changing my mind. His list of complaints goes on.

“If he can’t accept you as who you are divorce him, why stay in such misery?” my sister asks. This is true. Why should I be apologetic for being me? I should be with someone who can celebrate our similarities and put our differences on the burner.

The unfairness of having an invisible disorder was clear. If I was in a wheelchair the husband would probably be a lot more understanding. He was more sympathetic to the bout of breast cancer than to the ADHD. But hey that was cancer right? Right?